Nearing end of term, Duterte spouts remarks perceived to enable sexual harassment

May 20, 2022 - 1:05 PM
Duterte_Manila Post Office
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the launching of the Philippine Postal Corp.’s (PHLPost) Digital Innovation and Modernization at the Central Post Office Building in Manila on May 19, 2022. (Presidential Photo via PCOO/Toto Lozano)

Concerns about sexism and the treatment of women were raised online after outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte quipped in a speech that his job was now to look at pretty females.

The chief executive on Thursday attended the launch of the digital innovation and modernization of the Philippine Post Corporation at the Manila Post Office where he dropped anecdotes and jokes while speaking to the audience.

Among these were his comments about women.

Duterte initially talked about being grateful that he was able to experience the innovations in technology at his age.

“Iyon ang magaganda, at pasalamat ako sa Diyos na inabot ko. Binigyan pa ako ng ilang taon na makita ko ‘yung, I said, the marvels of electronics and digital things,” he said.

“Pero ako mismo, ‘yung explain nang explain si Norman, oo lang ako nang oo kasi wala talaga akong alam kung how it works, ‘yung ano. Ang trabaho ko na lang ngayon magtingin ng magandang babae,” Duterte added, referring to Norman Fulgencio, postmaster general and CEO of PHLPost.

“Okay na ako. Tingin lang, hindi ako naga-abduct, hindi ako naga-ano, basta tingin lang kasi matanda na. Itong aking — hindi na ito digital,” he further said.

“Ah, analogue ako, I belong to the analog generation. Pagka ganyan ka, talagang matanda ka na. So huwag kayong matakot kung magtitig ako sa inyo. Hanggang titig lang ‘yan. Pero kung magpakilala ka, okay man. I would, of course, enjoy meeting…” Duterte continued.

The president added that his “wife” also knows his fondness for staring at beautiful women but stressed that is the only thing he can do.

Duterte’s comments did not amuse some members of the online community who perceived him to be enabling female sexual harassers with his words.

“Salamat tatay at dahil sa’yo lalong naging matapang ang mga lalakeng bastos at manyak. Dahil din sa’yo kaya lalong dumadami ang mga babaeng may internalized misogyny,” a Filipina wrote on Twitter.

Some were not pleased by how the president continues to drop such comments six years into his term.

“Again with enabling sexual harassment. Typical,” a Twitter user wrote.

“Wala talang character development ano,” another Filipino commented.

Duterte’s remarks also caught the attention of the Gabriela Women’s party-list which quote tweeted a post reporting on his words.

“Consistent, sickening misogyny by the chief executive up to the very end. Women ARE NOT eye candies for male pleasure! #BawalBastos,” it said in a tweet.

Duterte is known for expressing remarks perceived to be misogynist or sexist towards women.

Throughout his term, he has ogled at Vice President Leni Robredo‘s legs, joked about being distracted by Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat‘s legs and admitted to molesting a househelp as a teenager.

In 2018, the president also kissed a female overseas Filipino worker on the lips at a public event. It drew widespread condemnation, with some commenting that it was a matter of “power play.”

Last year, a video of Duterte attempting to grope their househelp in his hometown went viral. His spokesperson said that there was “no malice” in the incident and that the president was just supposedly being playful.